His father had passed away (hardly the start of a story that ends with laughing), and he and his brother Jerry were transporting the body back to Danville, Illinois. The airplane ran into some problems, and there were transferring difficulties and things were a mess. Finally, though, things kicked in and Dick thought, "What am I thinking?" dealing with all that, and just chartered a plane to take them the rest of the way.
They finally arrived in Danville, at the small airport.
"[We] stood on the tarmac, tired and unsure what to do next. Jerry put his arm around me.
"'Let's take a cab to the hotel,' he said. 'It's my treat since you got the jet.'"
Van Dyke notes that they both cracked up.
(So did I.)